Coming off their big win over TCU in Dallas, Ohio State will return home this weekend for their last non-conference game of the year when they take on Tulane at 3:30 on Big Ten Network. The fourth-ranked Buckeyes will have Urban Meyer back on the sidelines as he will return from his suspension with his team 3-0 to start the season.
Ohio State got their first real test of the season against the Horned Frogs in Jerry World. Down 21-13 early in the third quarter, OSU scored 20 unanswered points to take control of the game before going on to win 40-28.
Dwayne Haskins looked phenomenal despite TCU sending pressure his way all night. He finished the game 24 for 38 with 344 yards and two touchdowns and an additional rushing touchdown, and that’s despite a few big drops from his wide receivers. J.K. Dobbins kept the Ohio State offense balanced with a steady ground attack, going off for 121 yards on 18 carries. While many receivers played a big part in the offense, none were better than K.J. Hill, who finished with six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
The Buckeye defense was both a high point and a low point against the Horned Frogs. The defense got OSU on the board early when Nick Bosa forced a sack fumble in the end zone to give Ohio State a 10-0 lead. Later, with the Buckeyes trailing 21-19, Dre’Mont Jones intercepted a screen pass and took it back 28 yards to the house to give Ohio State back a lead they would not relinquish. However, the defense also allowed over 500 yards of offense, including a 51-yard TCU touchdown that cut the lead to 33-28 late in the third quarter.
Tulane has had a tough start to their season, sitting a 1-2 through their first trio of games. In their last time out it was a heart-breaker for the Green Wave, losing to the UAB Blazers 31-24 on a late touchdown pass. Their lone win this year is against Nicholls State, an FCS school.
The Tulane offense is led by dual-threat quarterback Jonathan Banks. After a successful 2017 campaign wherein he recorded almost 2,400 total yards and 19 touchdowns, the 6-foot-2 senior has had a tough start to 2018. Banks has completed only 48 percent of his passes over the first three games. His last time out, he turned the ball over three times on an interception and a pair of fumbles. While he has still thrown for 650 yards and five touchdowns, the ground game just hasn’t been there to start the year – rushing for 29 yards on 33 attempts.
The Green Wave defense has not been great, but does feature some playmakers. Redshirt senior cornerback Donnie Lewis Jr. has been statistically one of the best defensive backs in the country to start the year, already recording two interceptions and five pass breakups to go along with 13 total tackles. However, despite Lewis’ efforts, the Tulane defense as a whole ranks 110th in the FBS with 465.3 yards allowed per game. They will have their hands full with Haskins and company this weekend, as Ohio State is second in the nation with 609 yards per game.
While this may have been a game in the past that Ohio State would come out sluggish, especially with all eyes on their big matchup with Penn State next weekend, the return of Urban Meyer should breathe life into this one and keep the players focused on the task at hand. The Buckeyes enter the game as 37 points favorites, and by all measures they should cover that spread.
Tulane will simply be overmatched by OSU. It would not be surprising for the Green Wave to make some big plays, especially with speedy running back Corey Dauphine who had three long touchdown runs a week ago. The Buckeye defense will be focused on not allowing the big plays they had been susceptible to against Oregon State and TCU, especially now with Bosa missing significant time after groin surgery, while the offense will continue to roll.
Final Score: 63-10 Ohio State
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